Report: COVID-19 lockdowns will claim 850K clean energy jobs by June 30
A new analysis of unemployment data projects that 850,000 clean energy workers will lose their jobs by June 30.
Nearly 600,000 have already been laid off since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns, according to a report released today by E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), E4TheFuture, and BW Research Partnership.
“It’s a lot worse that we thought. Americans in every state – red, blue, purple – are losing clean energy jobs across a wide swath of occupations – electricians, technicians, installers and factory workers,.” Said Bob Keefe, executive director of the national, nonpartisan business group E2.
“The economic data from April shows that the job losses from the COVID-19 pandemic are worse than expected. Unemployment claims increased dramatically across many key segments of the clean energy sector, such as construction and manufacturing. And the data does not suggest that we have yet to hit the bottom,” said Phil Jordan, vice president and principal at BW Research Partnership.
The analysis of Department of Labor data found that 594,347 workers in clean energy occupations, representing 17.8 percent of the industry’s workforce, filed for unemployment benefits in April and March.
The number of jobs lost is more than double the number of clean energy jobs created since 2017.
“Unprecedented economic impacts of COVID-19 are beyond daunting, for the whole clean energy industry — though the industry is nevertheless setting its sights on recovery and adapting to seek possible solutions,” said Steve Cowell, president of E4TheFuture.
Before March, clean energy had been one of the U.S. economy’s biggest and fastest-growing employment sectors, growing 10.4 percent since 2015 to 3.4 million jobs at the end of 2019.
That made clean energy by far the biggest employer of workers in all energy occupations, employing nearly three times as many people as the fossil fuel industry.
A loss of that magnitude would mean that one out of every four clean energy workers employed at the start of 2020 will have lost their jobs in just six months.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is delivering an unprecedented blow to renewable industry workers, whose job losses more than tripled over the past month,” said Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of ACORE. “Congress can help get these Americans back to work, and help get our economy back on track, with commonsense relief for time-sensitive tax credit deadlines and temporary refundability for renewable tax credits that are increasingly difficult to monetize.”